Saturday, 17 December 2016

Shirley Oaks Children's Home. Abuse Survivors

It was on all the television news and all the newspapers so it must be true. All of us kids who were in the children's home I wrote about in my book 'Elbows off the Table' are to receive compensation. The amazing thing is that the articles in the papers could have been lifted straight from the pages of my book they were that similar.

 I can't believe it! Compensation? It is going right back to the 1950's. There must be hundreds of us? Perhaps thousands? How is that going to work? Also I know that abuse was going on even before the 1950's. I met one man who was ten years older than me and he still had nightmares about his time there.

I have mixed feelings about receiving money as compensation. Too little and I shall feel insulted. Too much and I shall feel guilty. Where is the money coming from? How does it compensate for an unhappy childhood? Will money bring back my sense of loss? I recovered eventually why should I get compensated?

One concern I have regarding this and which has been causing me some anxiety, is to do with the good and decent people I met as a child. There is nothing in the news reports about these caring people who did their job with proper respect for the kids. I mention some of those who had a good influence in my book. Those who have now passed away, are they to be tarred with the same brush?
I phoned one of the national papers who ran the compensation article to express my feelings about this but they were not at all interested in hearing about the good in people. I suppose that doesn't sell papers?

I am considering changing the title or sub-title of my book to include the name of the Shirley Oaks Children's Home. I am not sure how I feel about doing that either. Remember how the Jimmy Saville story was in the news when I published my book and I felt some might think I was jumping on the band-wagon? I feel that now, but at the same time I want people to know about my book too. I mean, that's why I wrote it!


  1. Well I hope you receive a substantial amount. It can not possibly make up for the horrors you have told us. But it might make your present circumstances a bit easier. It does make one wonder why it took so long to notice what was happening to the children.
    I have finished reading your latest book. Of course I loved it from cover to cover. I recommend it to everybody.

  2. Thanks Emma. I am pleased you loved the new book. and the recommendation.

  3. I think the compensation, however much it is, will come to its recipients out of luck, like most stuff in life does. It was terrible luck to have such a difficult childhood, and better luck to have the money. Hard to believe one cancels out the other somehow, best just to be grateful for the good stuff and try to get over the bad. Yes it is tough on those kindly people who tried to make life better for you children, but most of us have enough common sense to know not everyone was bad who worked in those homes. The ones who were nice would be at peace with themselves for doing the right thing which is a great satisfaction in life. I just got your latest book and it was great, and your earlier book also about your childhood, although that was heart rending in parts to read about the way some people treat kids. Do you know if it still is bad in children's homes?

  4. I was just watching a program about the thousands of British Children who were taken from their single mothers and deported to Australia in the 50s to the 70s. They became abuse victims as well and there was a woman who was trying to help them re-connect with their families back in Britain.